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tiquer
11-14-2009, 11:39
Iím planning my first section (Springer>NOC). I have learned so much here over the last few weeks. I have been paying particular attention to the gear stuff.

30 years ago I did some hiking and did not use them then. I would like to hear options on Trekking poles. I know there is no right answer. I would just like to know
if you use them or not and why.

Scrapes
11-14-2009, 11:47
Might as well follow this up with carrying weapons on the trail too.

Anyway, in my short hiking career I've developed a love for them. They help ME greatly and routinely save me from at least one bad stumble on an outing.

The stress off the legs is huge as well and their use also puts your arms into use, especially on up hill climbs.

Start with the wally world ones.

Big Dawg
11-14-2009, 12:03
I use them and have been for the past 8 years or so. I highly recommend them. They help with support and stamina while traversing the mountains. They have saved me many times from face-planting. Some will chime in to advise they're not needed (like Lone Wolf), but many more will praise their benefits. They help me get into a great hiking rhythm.

I see them as a muti-function item. They are good at deflecting snakes or other varmints you might encounter. They can be used for some shelter/tarp supports. I fought off a bear one time with em.... haha, just kidding. Although, if approached by a bear, I could wave them in the air & clack them together to make me look bigger & more menacing. That's a stretch, but you get the point.

I currently use the Black Diamond flick-lock poles because the twist-lock poles have collapsed on me at inopportune times. Overall, I don't think you could go wrong with a set of poles.

Kerosene
11-14-2009, 12:10
Certainly they aren't required, but I started using them about 7 years ago and have found them useful for stability, helping to stop or slow down a slip-and-fall, getting weight off the knees, and as a tent pole. They're also useful to wipe away spider webs and fend off dogs.

I dislike my Leki Super Makalu's when my hands start sweating; when the tip of a pole gets caught between a rock and yanks me backward unexpectedly; and when I forget them at a rest stop and have to backtrack to retrieve them.

mark schofield
11-14-2009, 12:11
when I was younger I didn't need or use them. Now they really help with my weak knees when I go when I go down hill.

Wheeler
11-14-2009, 12:15
Packs aren't needed, nor shoes either. I do think these things help out a lot. Same with the poles. can't count how many times they've saved me from eating it. if you get Leki's, you can easily get them fixed for free should you break 'em. Once you're used to them, you might find you really enjoy having them.

Red Hat
11-14-2009, 12:17
Age is an interesting thing... the older I get, the more I need my poles

drastic_quench
11-14-2009, 12:20
It's like four-wheel drive for people. Why pass that up?

gravy4601
11-14-2009, 12:39
i like the extra stability can't count how many times they've saved me from twisting an ankle

Manwich
11-14-2009, 13:03
Sometimes I use them. Sometimes I don't. I carry them because my shelter relies on it. I find I'll hike faster without them, but I'll need them later in the day to not fall on my arse.

chknfngrs
11-14-2009, 13:48
I definitely enjoy using them. As said before, puts your arms to use and creates a pressure-buster for your knees on the down-hill. In addition, they are multi-use.

NEGAhiker
11-14-2009, 13:56
I've never used them, but I'm thinking about getting the cheap ones from Walmart just to try them....I've always been partial to using a walking stick that I found along a trail years ago...it was the perfect size...really strong and light weight...and best of all--free....i just sanded it down really smooth and it has made many trips with me...If you are curious about them and you can afford the$20-$30 try out the Walmart ones before blowing $100-$200 on Lekis and finding out you don't like using them.

Not So Fast!
11-14-2009, 14:32
To the OP,

30 years ago you were 21 with 21 year old knees.

Now you're, well.....older.

Your knees will thank you (especially when you are finishing your section on the bone-jarring descent into Wesser) for the poles.

'Dem knees knows.

Elder
11-14-2009, 14:42
Buy good poles!
Anything that SAYS for Balance only is dangerous and junk. (IMHO!)
Leki's are the strongest.
No one EVER complains about the price after they own them.

sheepdog
11-14-2009, 14:46
If you want a good set of poles on the cheap get bamboo ski poles from goodwill. Light, strong, cheap, and last forever. Mine are over 5 years old and still work good.
http://whiteblaze.net/forum/vbg/files/1/4/9/2/0/bamboo_hiking_poles_thumb.jpg (http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/showimage.php?i=26652&catid=member&orderby=title&direction=ASC&imageuser=14920&cutoffdate=-1)

Not Sunshine
11-14-2009, 15:06
in addition to all these good points, i find the best benefit of having the poles is my hands don't swell -- when i hike without them, my swinging arms lead to swollen and painful fingers and hands - and when i have my hands wrapped around my poles, i don't have this problem.

not to mention the fact that when you're scrambling DOWNhill - it's like you're walking on all 4's - i love(d) mine. i had 2 pair of the cheapo's from walmart (swissmade red one's). one pair got "accidently" stolen - bummer - the following month, while readjusting the height of one of the remaining pair, the twist lock broke and now i am down to 1 of 4 poles. bummer. for $20/pair, a good investment for my earlier hiking days...

in the future, i'm looking to upgrade to a pair with snap locks (like black diamond) but i want the 15-degree angle (leki) and cork handle (less slippery when sweeting). done my research, now waiting for the right price...and for the newest leki to come out in march, from what i heard - they're introducing their own snap locks....definitely want to check them out.

overall - grab a pair of cheapos - not much investment if they only last you a few trips - and try not readjusting them too much - then when you hike without, if your hands hurt, you'll invest in a nicer pair. :)

Not Sunshine
11-14-2009, 15:08
in addition to all these good points, i find the best benefit of having the poles is my hands don't swell -- when i hike without them, my swinging arms lead to swollen and painful fingers and hands - and when i have my hands wrapped around my poles, i don't have this problem.

not to mention the fact that when you're scrambling DOWNhill - it's like you're walking on all 4's - i love(d) mine. i had 2 pair of the cheapo's from walmart (swissmade red one's). one pair got "accidently" stolen - bummer - the following month, while readjusting the height of one of the remaining pair, the twist lock broke and now i am down to 1 of 4 poles. bummer. for $20/pair, a good investment for my earlier hiking days...

in the future, i'm looking to upgrade to a pair with snap locks (like black diamond) but i want the 15-degree angle (leki) and cork handle (less slippery when sweeting). done my research, now waiting for the right price...and for the newest leki to come out in march, from what i heard - they're introducing their own snap locks....definitely want to check them out.

overall - grab a pair of cheapos - not much investment if they only last you a few trips - and try not readjusting them too much - then when you hike without, if your hands hurt, you'll invest in a nicer pair. :)

really? i'm not usually this dull. "sweating". there is not much about me that's "sweeting" when i'm on the trail.

Bags4266
11-14-2009, 19:33
I use them but only one. I use to use two but it's more comfortable for me to switch back an forth. My arms don't like being in a 90* postion all day.

Trailweaver
11-14-2009, 21:24
Any support you have when you are about to push up some of the large "step-ups" and downs plus any support to keep you from falling is well worth the price. The trail isn't paved, and more than once I've almost fallen. My walking stick has really saved my hike more often than I know.

tiquer
11-14-2009, 21:58
Thanks everyone!
I went over to Wally world to look at what they have. They have a pair for like $19. I think I will try them out on one of my first shake down hikes. I have a couple of places to go on some day hikes. The trails are very long, mostly 2-5 miles and they do have a nice variety terrain.

Again, Thanks everyone

sherrill
11-14-2009, 22:08
My wife and I split a pair of Lekis. I used to use various hand made hiking poles but with the Leki I can compress it for travel, or to strap to my pack when climbing rocky sections. Not so much with the hiking poles (although I still love them). Overall, I've found that I need something to help with the balance, or as a weapon (jk). :D

wheatus
11-15-2009, 03:50
Love my Leki's! can't imagine hiking without them.

good:
balance
fall saver
tarp poles
early snake warning system
creek/river fording
extra umph on uphills
knee saver

bad:
extra weight
get stuck when bushwacking
can be damaging to trails
stab my dog with them occasionally
cost me 13 stitches in my right index finger and ~$1000

Peaks
11-15-2009, 16:26
Well, I don't use them, but if you look around, many people do use them, including the ultralighters. So, there must be a good reason why.

mrhughes1982
11-15-2009, 16:30
I think they are very handy. Can't count the number of times they have saved me from busting my arse. And for crossing streams they can be a life saver, especially if its cold out and you're in the middle of BFE. I tell people sometimes they are the best item in my first aid kit.

everydayhiker
11-15-2009, 16:50
Buy a pair, I use them just because of bad knees. They sure will save you some soar legs. Ive been using them for about a year and cant believe I went hiking without them.

BrianLe
11-16-2009, 01:12
I agree with Red Hat and Not So Fast --- all other things being equal I think there are two pieces of gear where an age bias tends to show up. One is padding under your sleeping bag (most older people tend to have/need/want more, typically to include something inflatable). The other is trekking poles. At age 51, I suggest you get used to hiking with two of them to reduce the odds of knee issues causing you grief.

Note that different people use trekking poles in different ways --- I think most people agree on how to use the straps on your wrists (?) but I've seen different styles and don't doubt that there are various and conflicting bits of advice out there. You might poke around and look at videos online of people doing it, such as this one on youtube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=skXVMA5nShA). Skimming it briefly it looked okay to me, though I rarely bother to adjust my poles longer or shorter when going down or uphill as she suggests (and fixed pole users can't ...). I think the right style is whatever becomes so stable and comfortable for you that you at some point forget you have poles and become sort of a four-legged animal, able to look around more as you walk (4 points of contact with the ground), and if you're into it, enjoying the ability to get your upper body more involved and use your arms to help power up hills when you're inclined.

Lyle
11-16-2009, 08:49
Yes. Poles are beneficial, and most folks who try them stick with them. In my observation, most (not all) of the folks who consistently recommend against them do not, and never have, used them.

My strong recommendation is PacerPoles - unique design that works better than conventional.

http://www.pacerpole.com/

garlic08
11-16-2009, 10:05
...at some point forget you have poles and become sort of a four-legged animal, able to look around more as you walk ....

Yes! I was a one-pole hiker for many years, in my forties. After I turned 50 and hiked the AT, I tried two poles for the first time and this is exactly what happened. Sure, I could have hiked without them, and maybe not even fallen (much), but my speed, fluidity, confidence, and hiking enjoyment increased with them. Plus, they're my tent poles.


In my observation, most (not all) of the folks who consistently recommend against them do not, and never have, used them.

Where is Blue Jay, anyway?

Bearpaw
11-16-2009, 10:14
I love my poles. BUT, with that said, a part of me would suggest not using them if you haven't already. For me, I've grown so used to using them, I don't like to hike without them any more. My whole body feels "off". If your body is accustomed to walking without them and you have no current problems, go with what already works.

If you DO choose to go with trekking poles, look at Black Diamonds. Their flicklock mechanism is the best locking system I have seen, and I've jammed up MANY Lekis, Komperdells, Alpinas, and so forth. I've never had a problem with Black Diamonds.

buz
11-16-2009, 10:21
Also, IMO, if you use poles, use them the best, most efficient way possible. this would be by using them to propel you forward on not super steep trails. The strap and proper use of that is very important in this. I can literally almost not hold my poles if my straps are correctly tightened and positioned. I go way faster on flat sections with my poles. I am a beliver. the leki website has lots of helpful info on this.

ShelterLeopard
11-16-2009, 11:42
Iím planning my first section (Springer>NOC). I have learned so much here over the last few weeks. I have been paying particular attention to the gear stuff.

30 years ago I did some hiking and did not use them then. I would like to hear options on Trekking poles. I know there is no right answer. I would just like to know
if you use them or not and why.

I didn't use trekking poles for a while, but I LOVE them. I use ski poles (because I already had them, and they are lighter than the less expensive collapsible trekking poles). I really like them- they help a lot if you suddenly feel winded- just lean on the poles. Help you if you nearly trip, help with balance, distribution of weight, etc... Love em... So many other uses too... Tent supports, ect.

Lone Wolf
11-16-2009, 11:46
Iím planning my first section (Springer>NOC). I have learned so much here over the last few weeks. I have been paying particular attention to the gear stuff.

30 years ago I did some hiking and did not use them then. I would like to hear options on Trekking poles. I know there is no right answer. I would just like to know
if you use them or not and why.

i don't use them. never have, never will. don't see the need for them

Manwich
11-16-2009, 12:19
cost me 13 stitches in my right index finger and ~$1000

care to elaborate on that one?

ShelterLeopard
11-16-2009, 12:41
Oh, and I've heard more than one person say that they buy ski poles from ski rental places that are really beaten up for next to nothing. Good deal.

sheepdog
11-16-2009, 12:47
i don't use them. never have, never will. don't see the need for them
is that your final answer

would you use them on a hill
or use them just to stop a spill

could you use them here or there
could you use them anywhere

how about on a rocky trail
what if they would never fail

would you use them to walk a log
or use them on an angry dog

dmax
11-16-2009, 12:49
I'd say buy once and buy it right. Pick leki or BD.
Or start a thread asking to buy a set. You probably won't find anybody selling theirs though.

Yukon
11-16-2009, 12:53
They are great, get yourself a set. Hell, even Moses used a walking stick...

Doooglas
11-17-2009, 05:04
If you want a good set of poles on the cheap get bamboo ski poles from goodwill. Light, strong, cheap, and last forever. Mine are over 5 years old and still work good.
http://whiteblaze.net/forum/vbg/files/1/4/9/2/0/bamboo_hiking_poles_thumb.jpg (http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/showimage.php?i=26652&catid=member&orderby=title&direction=ASC&imageuser=14920&cutoffdate=-1)

:D:D:D I just cut mine as I go along.:cool:
Bamboo is awesome.

4Bears
11-17-2009, 07:45
I use 'em, I love 'em and don't forsee hiking again with out them. I've got a worn out knee and they make it possible to gett out on the trail. I started out with a cheap set and moved up to lekis, but what ever your comfortable with is the way to go, HYOH. As for others saying never have, never will, nature has its way of changing our minds.

Lone Wolf
11-17-2009, 07:59
As for others saying never have, never will, nature has its way of changing our minds.

won't change my mind. i'll never own them

Big Dawg
11-17-2009, 09:56
won't change my mind. i'll never own them

Yes,,, we know:rolleyes: You'll be the "Lone Holdout":D

K_Squared
11-17-2009, 10:01
I have recently just started using trekking poles and after the first few miles both uphill and downhill--I have no idea how I ever lived without them. For me, they make that much of a difference. Love, love, love them!

Tipi Walter
11-17-2009, 11:02
Well, I don't use them, but if you look around, many people do use them, including the ultralighters. So, there must be a good reason why.

Just because a group of backpackers called "Ultralighters" uses something is no recommendation or testimonial for the value of whatever it is they use. Should we all go out and use trail runners and bubble wrap and count grams in a hike-lite frenzy?

Having a whole thread on whether someone uses a hiking pole or not verges on the thoroughly mundane and seems a boring exercise in futility, sort of like having an in-depth discussion on the best socks for hiking, but here's my take on it.

In the old days I never used a hiking stick, I was young and fit and hardly ever crossed creeks on a regular basis and hitchhiked enough to know a hiking stick wouldn't work when getting in and out of cars, throwing my big pack in was hard enough all by itself.

I started using a stick sometime in the late 1980s but would never buy something I could make myself, and I made a whole bunch of them. Find a straight sapling, cut it, put some tobacco down, skin it with a draw knife, paint it, and voila! A nice pole. Random fotogs below show some hiking pole options:

FOTOGS

The first shows two homemade painted hiking poles up at the tipi in NC.

The second shows Blade in Pisgah with his favorite pole, an old metal mop handle.

The third shows backpacking buddy Johnny B in Pisgah with his usual hiking stick, a . . .uh . . .random stick he found on the trail.

The fourth shows Little Mitten with the usual two painted sapling poles and Blade has a weird plastic "stick".

The last one shows me with a simple bamboo stick with a bicycle grip handle and a bottom rubber cane tip.

Bags4266
11-17-2009, 17:44
My last hike while using one pole I stopped to take on water. After I left 1 mile in I realized I wasn't using my pole cause I left it at the stream. It was a tuff decision wether to go back for a $15.00 pole or not. But I did. Bottom line... I didn't really miss it for that moment but I still use them.

4Bears
11-17-2009, 19:08
:bananaTIPI nice work, HHHMMMMM :-? maybe you could make one for Lone Wolf, just don't tell anyone. :D To each his own LW, I didn't use them till I needed too. :)

Summit
11-22-2009, 20:54
Must have encountered about 40 SOBOs on my 75 mile hike a couple of weeks ago between 19E and Damascus. Not a single one was not using trekking poles. Is this a result of marketing hype or experience-based common sense? Hmm . . .

Everyone I've asked recently says they couldn't imagine hiking without them . . . I agree.

ShelterLeopard
11-22-2009, 20:57
Must have encountered about 40 SOBOs on my 75 mile hike a couple of weeks ago between 19E and Damascus. Not a single one was not using trekking poles. Is this a result of marketing hype or experience-based common sense? Hmm . . .

Well, I used walking sticks before I ever heard of trekking poles. (First I used a walking staff, I felt like Moses, and it was really heavy. So I found smaller ones that are about the same size as trekking poles, then I tried trekking poles and loved them. Happy ending.)

Wise Old Owl
11-22-2009, 22:49
Here is my reasoning...
http://whiteblaze.net/forum/vbg/files/1/1/5/5/2/081808_041.jpg

pfann
11-23-2009, 00:39
This past July I took my oldest son to the Whites on a hike before he started high school. I got him some "REI garage sale" poles on the cheap. When we were training for our hike my son thought the poles were stupid.
After the first day of uphill and downhill climbs on the Crawford Path, he thought they were the best purchase we made for the whole trip.

FritztheCat
11-23-2009, 16:56
Love my trekking poles! I have the Black Diamond thumb lock poles. I started with the Swiss Gear $14 poles from Walmart and found that I really like using the poles, I just didn't like the twist lock or the shock absorber in the Swiss Gear.

Poles have saved me from busting my butt several times.

They work for me but a lot of people I hike with don't use them so I'd recommend getting a cheap pair or borrow someone's and make your own decision.

While I really like my poles, they are pretty much useless on flat terrain. Uphill and down are where they really benefit me.

Big Dawg
11-23-2009, 18:59
I bet if we FORCED Lone Wolf to use a pair, he'd fall in love & become a four-legged hiker too!:eek::D

weary
11-23-2009, 20:18
Packs aren't needed, nor shoes either. I do think these things help out a lot. Same with the poles. can't count how many times they've saved me from eating it. if you get Leki's, you can easily get them fixed for free should you break 'em. Once you're used to them, you might find you really enjoy having them.
Well, I've used a single, homemade stick (weight 9 ounces) since 1991. I was hiking Maine (283 miles) with a 9-year-old and he kept stumbling. So I cut him a stick from a cut sapling left by a trail maintainer. He wouldn't use a crutch unless I did. Since we had 250 miles to go, I agreed. Anything for harmony on the trail.

Two years later I carried that same stick 2,163 miles north, from Georgia to Katahdin. I found it helpful then, and even more helpful now that I've lost feeling in both my feet from type II disbetes.

Diabetes is now well under control. But feeling in my feet probably will never return. It's like walking on stilts. I can still out walk my 45-year-old, reasonably fit, daughter.

But I can't walk on rough trails any more without at least a single stick for balance.

But I'm still mystified by the young and vigorous hikers who claim that two Lekis have kept them from countless falls. I've walked many thousands of miles, summer and winter. I can only remember a half dozen falls in all those miles and all those years.

My guess is that those that find two sticks a massive prevention from falls, have really found that two sticks encourage them to go faster than a rough trail allows.

Those of us without infirmities, who have successfully learned to walk starting around age 2, probably can do most trails at a reasonable pace without falling, with or without sticks. Unless, of course, we had spent too many years as couch potatoes and thus have forgotten the walking technique.

Weary

gunner76
11-23-2009, 21:24
Bought a set of the $20 Wally World Hiking poles, took them back as they would not stay locked. Second set has same problem. I am now looking to get some Leki poles.

Lone Wolf
11-23-2009, 21:28
I bet if we FORCED Lone Wolf to use a pair, he'd fall in love & become a four-legged hiker too!:eek::D

unlikely. 2 things i'll never own. hikin' sticks or a cell phone

Wise Old Owl
11-23-2009, 21:39
hmmm what ever happened to owning a free donation?

Red Beard
11-24-2009, 00:33
I like using a single trekking pole. It frees up my other hand for eating.

Big Dawg
11-24-2009, 00:37
unlikely. 2 things i'll never own. hikin' sticks or a cell phone

what... no cell phone:eek:,,, in the 21st century??:-?

I'm surprised you use one of them there fancy computer thingy's. Let me guess... dial-up service?

JoshStover
11-24-2009, 00:44
Bought a set of the $20 Wally World Hiking poles, took them back as they would not stay locked. Second set has same problem. I am now looking to get some Leki poles.

Chances are you will have the same problem with the Leki poles. I myself think that lekis are JUNK! I LOVE my Black Diamonds. They have the flick-lock on them and have never crashed on me. Watch ebay and you should be able to find some BDs for a pretty good price...

Franco
11-24-2009, 18:00
If I need to warm up my ear , I put a hat on. So no mobile phone for me either. I have broadband though, because is cheaper to me than dial up.
I get a bit of a kick out seeing the expression people make when they find out I don't use a mobile. At work out of about 70 people I was the only one without.
But I use the poles. Of course they are a gimmick. Just like backpacks with frames and boots. No need for that at all. But some like them...
Franco
BTW, again, I very rarely see people using poles correctly (as opposed to carryng them for a walk...) so not surprising that they don't work for some. However I feel that many that do like them would benefit from learning on how to use them.
http://www.personal.dundee.ac.uk/~pjclinch/poles.htm (http://www.personal.dundee.ac.uk/~pjclinch/poles.htm)

DrRichardCranium
11-24-2009, 18:13
Good post, Franco!

When I was a teenager I worked at a cross-country ski track, and when we weren't on the job we could borrow equipment for free & ski for free as well. So we did a lot of that.

Bottom line: That two-pole motion is deeply ingrained in my muscle memory, ie, left pole forward with right foot forward, etc. The motion is the same as cross country skiing, but without the glide. So using trekking poles came very naturally to me.

Franco
11-24-2009, 18:40
Thanks for that. I did not make the connection between cross country and using poles till someone used the expression "Nordic style" some years ago. (that is the way I mostly use them) At that point I realised why I used the strap the way I do. I grew up with 3 cousins that did competitive cross country skiing , so I had seen them doing that for years but for some reason I never made the connection.
Most "older" (over 30...) folk at home used a stick going up our mountains particularly because of the plentiful vipers we have . Of course as a teenager I was totally indestructible so I did not need that. So poles looked funny to me too , till I started using them.
Franco

Summit
11-24-2009, 19:20
BTW, again, I very rarely see people using poles correctly (as opposed to carryng them for a walk...) so not surprising that they don't work for some. I've noticed that a lot too! Very few put their poles to work!